Comparison: International Business Negotiation

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  • Topic: Culture, Negotiation, China
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  • Published : September 21, 2006
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Comparison: International Business Negotiation
(China & USA)

Word count: 3134.


With the globalization of world businesses, China has become an appealing market for foreign investors. The problem of cross-cultural management arises as the cooperation between China and its culturally different Western partners continues to increase at an unprecedented rate. This paper presents an understanding on the general cultural differences between United States of America and People's Republic of China (PRC) by applying the cultural dimensions of Hofstede and Bond: power distance, collective vs. individualism, feminity vs. masculinity and uncertainty avoidance in each culture is considered to give a better indication of the likely differences that will certainly be confronted at the negotiation table. Our essay tries to recognize some of the distinctive traits that Chinese culture and American culture will display when negotiating. These include sensitivity to time, emotional control, team organization, negotiating objectives and different levels of cultural importance applied to a relationship building.

Cultural differences in negotiation

Negotiations are crucial to business alliances; Firms are increasingly forming international partnerships as a response to industrial globalization, these processes can become more complicated if there are language barriers, differences in cultural values, customs, and lifestyles, such as United States of America(USA) negotiating with the People's Republic of China (PRC) (stark et al., 2005). According to Appendix 1 cultural clusters, Chinese culture belongs to the Confusion Asia, whereas USA's culture belongs to the Anglo culture ( Gupta, Hanges & Dorfman , 2002). There are various differences in culture between these two countries.

To elucidate the differences between China and the US, we will refer to Hofstede's four cultural dimensions of power distance, individualism/collectivism, masculinity/femininity, and uncertainty avoidance. Further research by Michael Bond identified a fifth dimension called long-term/short-term orientation (Fan & Zigang, 2004).

•Power distance-

It is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of the institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally (Hofstede, 1991, p.28). Differences in the power distance culture between organizations, countries can influence the team organization and Decision making in international business negotiations. In terms of power distance scores, china scores 80 and USA scores 40 (Appendix 2). This score indicates that Chinese accept the fact that power is unevenly distributed in the society and business, however in USA equality and opportunity for everyone is stressed and the differences between citizen's power and wealth are de-emphasized (Fan & Zigang, 2004).


Individualism focuses on the degree the society reinforces individual or collective achievement and interpersonal relationships. Under different extents of individualism, people have different ways of communication and emotional control, which could effect how the teams act in the negotiations (Hofstede, 1991). On the Individualism scores, China scores 20 and USA scores 91 (appendix2). Such obvious differences indicate that human relationships in business are more likely to be group focused in china rather then the more individualistic nature of Americans. These types of human ties lead to a more collective group in china. In business the group culture rather than loose relationships is more common in china than in the USA. In addition, this differences not only exists between china and USA, but also exists between Asian and western countries (Fan & Zigang, 2004).


Masculinity measures on the degree that society reinforces the traditional masculine role model of male achievement, control and power. In the...
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